Conservation Paleoecology: The PETM and GABI (November 19 & 21)

This is our last week of regular classes and labs. Next week on Tuesday 8-9 am we’ll have an optional PowerPoint workshop for those who want advice on their presentations. There will be no lab, and of course the rest of the week is Thanksgiving Break.

Our topics this week will start with the Paleocene-Eocene Thermal Maximum, a significant interval of climate change much like we’re experiencing today. It followed the end-Cretaceous extinctions by about ten million years and is correlated with the magnificent adaptive radiation of the Early Cenozoic mammals. We will then use this event to introduce the concept of Conservation Paleoecology.

Our second and last paleoecological event will be the Great American Biotic Interchange (GABI), about 2.7 mya (Late Pliocene). This will also be an example of Conservation Paleoecology.

(Lab Report 4 instructions)

Geology in the News —

Dramatic decreases in insect diversity and abundance are upon us. After last week’s discussion of pollination vectors, you know how dangerous this will be.

During the Cretaceous there were feathered dinosaurs near the South Pole.

Here’s a cool new fossil bird from the Early Cretaceous of Japan. It is considered basal to the bird lineage and thus has new details regarding the evolution of the clade. It is also preserved in three dimensions rather than a flattened two.